Faye’s teeth sunned themselves, the top layer of her skin ached gently from the heat. The morning smog hovered just above the tree-line, as soft light broke through the haze. The sky was golden and gray, the air smelt of thick onion grass and diesel. Her fingers lingered over the anthill, the tips of her nails skimming above the mound. The shadow she had cast above them did not appear to faze them. She ticked her head sharply, one of her braids falling over her right shoulder. With a mere flick of her skeleton, she pressed down on one of the ants who had ventured beyond the sanctuary. She sucked in air hard through her exposed teeth. She brought her finger to her face. The ant was dead, laid flat and open over her flesh. She blinked and hummed under her breath. She pressed her finger over her upper arm, rubbing it over her skin. The ant stained her, and she used every finger, not her thumb, to force the ant upon her flesh. Her elbows lifted. Her head angled back; her chin lifted toward the sky.
“Faye. What the fuck are you doing out there?”
Faye’s lips curled inward; her teeth hidden. “Just taking in some sun.”
“Well, get inside. You know you need your mask if you’re going to sit out there.”
Faye’s eyes fell downward. The ants scurried frantically below her; they’d just witnessed a murder. She stood. The frayed ends of her hair, damaged from years of platinum blonde dye, fluttered through the wind as the strands were caressed. She moved toward the open door of their trailer, stepping over the garbage. The space around her was empty and silent, save for the pounding of Marvin’s shoes against the trailer floor. She nearly laughed.
Faye knew that she had once been a child. She’d heard tales of her delivery. Her mother had done it in the bathtub, and Faye had befouled the clear faucet water with the musk of afterbirth. She knew she had grown in a townhouse by an ocean; she could not recall which ocean it was. Before the humpback whales had dissipated into extinction, her mother would take her out in a boat to watch their migration. That was just prior to the shoreline shutdown. She could not find her way back there, to the bell wind chime and humpback whales.
Marvin’s fingers pounded harshly against the old wood of the dining room table.
“What?” Faye questioned, her head and brow cocked. “What?”
“How about some breakfast?” he asked. “Some eggs, sunny-side-up on toast?”
Faye went still. “You know how to make them yourself.”
She watched Marvin’s fist as it clenched. The blood in his face drained, his eyes sat still in his pale face. He pushed his hand through his hair, and she glanced out of the cloudy trailer window. Perhaps she had burst from Marvin’s forehead, fully grown, in the trailer kitchen, making eggs sunny-side-up on toast. She was awakened, suddenly, by the blue flame of the gas stove. She blinked. Her head slanted. She cracked an egg over the pan, discarding the shell. She broke the other, the slime running over her fingers. Her lips parted. Her eyes widened.
“I like that shirt. It matches your teeth.” Marvin’s voice.
Faye glanced down from the pan. She was dressed in periwinkle, decorated with jeweled flowers. She wore Marvin’s gray sweatpants and her feet were bare. She was, at that moment, absolutely sure that everyone in the world was dead.
“What did you take?”
“When will my eggs be done?”
“When they’re done.”
“Because I have to get to work.”
“There’s no work anymore, Marv,” she said. “Don’t you remember?”
“I have to get to work.”
Her eyes fell to the flesh on her arm, where the guts of the ant still stayed smeared. She grinned. She thought that perhaps her mother was dead.
“Bitch! You’re burning my fucking eggs,” Marvin called. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Faye glanced down. It was true; the eggs were darkening. They sizzled on the pan, a high-pitched scream rising from under the yoke.
Marvin had tricked her. One moment she had been laughing, she thought they were playing a game. Then, he made everyone else disappear and killed the chickens for their eggs. The door was locked, and day turned into night, and she couldn’t remember where her home was supposed to be. He’d cut their throats and left her alive. The grass turned white; the sky smelt of Chloroform.
Faye, in a single movement from the muscles in her wrist, thrust the egg from the pan and into the field beyond their trailer. Ravens descended on it, devouring it. And, with as much force, Marvin’s hand brought down a bat that collided with her left temple. Waves of a red sea flowed down her platinum blonde hair, an ocean that swallowed the trailer.
And the world was empty, and silent, and nothing sang and nothing screamed.
Taylor Denton is a student living in Boulder, currently working to complete a degree in English. She was born in Springfield, Missouri. She now writes in college from the perspective of a student, working as often as she can to keep her voice active and evolving while she continues to pursue her enthusiasm for writing.